Tue 12 Aug 2014
Business: Brighton Accommodation Agency
Focused lettings experts Brighton Accommodation Agency tell us: it’s all about communication
Brighton Accommodation Agency have been a familiar face on the Brighton letting scene since 1979, but the last few years have seen big changes across the market and within the company. We caught up with Company Director Dan Lyons to talk all things lettings ...
Firstly, it’s been a great year for Brighton Accommodation Agency – for those who are less familiar with your brand, can you tell us a bit more about the company?
“Brighton Accommodation Agency, now in its tenth year under my stewardship, is really geared towards being a kind of boutique letting agency. Over the years we’ve dabbled with both sales and block management but I have to say that it’s lettings that’s our core product, and we’ve now ditched all other side projects to focus on what we are best at.
“We’ve got a great base of residential and student properties on our books, and over the past couple of years have become one of the first places that investors come to find a sound project for a decent return. Over the past decade we have developed – evolved, if you will – into a really streamlined, efficient and productive engine. Landlords really just want a quiet life, and tenants really just want value for money for their rental, so the past couple of years have been about focusing on getting the most effective maintenance strategy in place for the tenants, and learning how each landlord works.
“Landlords really just want a quiet life, and tenants really just want value for money”
“I’ve noticed that some agencies have their way of working, and the landlord has to fit into their cycle. However I’ve found that, like properties, landlords are all different, requiring different levels of service, information, advice etc, and by getting to know the landlords you are in a much better position to offer them the service they want.”
You’re often described as one of the best student accommodation agencies in the city, however there is much more to Brighton Accommodation Agency, isn’t there?
“Whilst it’s nice to know that people think we’re that big in the student market, it happened by chance, really. I’ve got some fantastic student landlords who have taught me pretty much all there is to know, and the past few years in particular have seen a massive expansion on that front. I suppose that our diligence in the field of Houses in Multiple Occupation and attention to detail as far as the actual management of the students go, means that we have become a big player in this field. However, we have also developed a very decent portfolio as far as residential flats of all sizes and qualities go.
“We like, if possible, to maintain a nice blend of them all as the students are very seasonal and regimented, with the tenancies starting and finishing roughly the same time each year, so it’s nice to have the flats and residential houses to work with in the quieter times. In fact, in the coming months I would really like to expand that residential portfolio and make some new contacts with landlords who have portfolios of all sizes.”
What would you say is the most important quality a letting agent can have?
“In one word: communication! It really doesn’t matter what the problem is, who is to blame or who is liable – as an agent, our job is to find a quick, economical and final solution. There is no point worrying about what the landlord will say or if the tenant is to blame; that’s an issue for another day. We must find the best solution as quickly as possible and the only way that gets done is by informing the right people straight away.
“I have found that even if at first you think it’s going to be a big issue, if you can solve it straight away it minimizes the damage, and in turn, whoever is responsible or liable becomes less responsible or liable. Most people, at the end of the day, have to agree that this is the best way forward.”
Brighton Accommodation Agency,
74 Lewes Road, Brighton, BN2 3HZ